There are living prophets and apostles upon the earth who receive revelation to guide The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are blessed to be able to hear their counsel every six months during general conference. Their counsel reflects the will of the Lord and what He wants us – as a Church and as individuals - to know and do. The counsel received from prophets and apostles can help us with the challenges we face in life. We definitely can learn much from living prophets and apostles.
The following scriptures tell us why we should listen to the prophets and apostles during general conference and study their words later when they are printed in the Ensign, New Era, Friend, or Liahona or when they are published at this site.
Limhi, a king in ancient America, asked a man named Ammon if he knew anyone who could translate languages. Ammon replied that he knew a king who had some “interpreters,” which he could use to translate whatever God wanted him to translate. He said that a man with this ability is called a “seer.” King Limhi said that “a seer is greater than a prophet,” but Ammon corrected him by saying that “a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have a great power given him from God” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 8:16-18).
A modern revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith during a special conference of elders of the Church, held at Hiram, Ohio, on November 1, 1831. In this revelation, the Lord said, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
Another modern revelation received through the Prophet Joseph Smith in November 1831 explains that any instruction given under the influence of the Holy Ghost becomes scripture. “And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
“And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:3-4).
In a recent general conference, President Thomas S. Monson spoke of the reasons why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather together in general conference twice each year (April and October): “My beloved brothers and sisters, as we gather once again in a general conference of the Church, I welcome you and express my love to you. We meet each six months to strengthen one another, to extend encouragement, to provide comfort, to build faith. We are here to learn. Some of you may be seeking answers to questions and challenges you are experiencing in your life. Some are struggling with disappointments or losses. Each can be enlightened and uplifted and comforted as the Spirit of the Lord is felt.
“Should there be changes which need to be made in your life, may you find the incentive and the courage to do so as you listen to the inspired words which will be spoken. May each of us resolve anew to live so that we are worthy sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. May we continue to oppose evil wherever it is found.”
President Monson spoke about the blessings we enjoy in these latter days, particularly the blessings of technology, which allow people to participate in general conference no matter where they are in the world. “We come together as one, speaking many languages, living in many lands, but all of one faith and one doctrine and one purpose….
“Now, my brothers and sisters, we have come to be instructed and inspired. Many messages will be shared during the next two days. I can assure you that those men and women who will address you have sought heaven’s help and direction as they have prepared their messages. They have been inspired concerning that which they will share with us.
“Our Heavenly Father is mindful of each of us and our needs. May we be filled with His Spirit as we partake of the proceedings of this conference…” (“As We Gather Once Again,” Ensign, May 2012, pp. 4-5).
Prophets, seers, and revelators today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel just as the ancient prophets did. They tell us the will of God and teach us His true character. They boldly denounce sin and warn of its consequences. Sometimes, they even warn us of future events.
When President Monson spoke in our most recent general conference, he counseled us to be obedient to the commandments of God. “There is no need for you or for me, in this enlightened age when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail unchartered seas or to travel unmarked roads in search of truth. A loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing guide – even obedience. A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God….
“Obedience is a hallmark of prophets; it has provided strength and knowledge to them throughout the ages. It is essential for us to realize that we, as well, are entitled to this source of strength and knowledge. It is readily available to each of us today as we obey God’s commandments…” (“Obedience Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2013).
I encourage you to join me in studying the words of the living prophets and apostles by reading or listening to their talks here or by reading them in the Church magazines. I encourage you to prepare for our next general conference by making a list of the challenges and questions you want to receive counsel about and then listen for your answers when the prophets and apostles speak.
I am very grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for I know that we are led by living prophets and apostles. I know that these men are called to speak for the Lord, just as Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Paul, Nephi, Alma, Mormon, and other prophets and apostles of the scriptures. I know that we are led by a prophet of God, even President Thomas S. Monson, under the direction of Jesus Christ. I know that President Monson is a prophet, seer, and revelator, and I know that he is the only person on the earth who receives revelation to guide the entire Church. I know that he is assisted by his counselors in the First Presidency and by the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles whom we also sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. I know that we can all benefit from following the counsel given by prophets and apostles.